Magazine article UN Chronicle

Text Deploring Downing of Libyan Planes Vetoed in Security Council; United States Calls It 'Self-Defense.' (Vetoed by United States, United Kingdom and France)

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Text Deploring Downing of Libyan Planes Vetoed in Security Council; United States Calls It 'Self-Defense.' (Vetoed by United States, United Kingdom and France)

Article excerpt

Three permanent members of the Security Council-the United States, the United Kingdom and France-on 11 January vetoed a draft resolution by which the Council would have deplored the downing on 4 January of two Libyan reconnaissance planes by the armed forces of the United States. The Council would have also called upon the United States to "suspend its military manoeuvres off the Libyan coast in order to contribute to the reduction of tension in the area".

The text (S/20378) also called upon all parties to "refrain from resorting to force, to exercise restraint in this critical situation and to resolve their differences by peaceful means" in keeping with the UN Charter. The United States and Libya would have been called upon to co-operate with the Secretary-General regarding a peaceful settlement of their differences.

The vote was 9 to 4, with 2 abstentions. Canada, a nonpermanent Council member, joined the three Western Powers in casting a negative vote. Brazil and Finland abstained. Voting for the draft were Algeria, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Nepal, Senegal, USSR and Yugoslavia.

The United States said the clear purpose of the draft was to criticize the United States for actions, "taken in self-defence", that were entirely lawful and consistent with the Charter. Moreover, it contained language inconsistent with the principle of freedom of navigation in international waters.

France said it could not approve a text which appeared to be "insufficiently balanced"'

The United Kingdom regretted the 4 January incident, but upheld the freedom of ships and aircraft to operate in international waters and airspace and their inherent right to self-defence. …

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